Saturday, December 13, 2008

WNBC Homemade Holiday Gifts! Beth's Gingerbarn

Gingerbarn Instructions

Making gingerbread houses is a traditional art form in many European countries and dressing up a typical gingerbread house as a classic country barn can be a new holiday project for everyone to enjoy. From start to finish the project will take 3-4 hours, so spread it over a few days and take your time. The results are worth it as this Gingerbarn makes an enchanting centerpiece for a party or a wonderful gift and adds sweet country style to any season!

For the Gingerbarn you will need

1. Gingerbread recipe
2. Royal icing recipe
3. Rolling pin
4. Cookie sheets
5. Pastry bag & tip
6. Sharp paring knife
7. Scissors
8. Cardboard for patterns & barn base
9. Recycled potato chip or tall can (for silo)
10. Red construction paper (for silo)
11. Tennis ball (for silo top)
12. Aluminum foil (for silo top)
13. Double stick tape (for silo)
14. Toy barn animals (for décor)

To decorate the Gingerbarn you will need
1. (1) package of 5 Flavor Life Savers® (for Barn Hex)
2. (1) package Wint O Green® Life Savers (for cupola)
3. (2) packages of Hubba Bubba Gummi Tape™ Shocking Strawberry™ (for barn siding)
4. (5) to (10) licorice pieces, cut in small pieces (for pathway)
5. Chocolate graham crackers (for cupola)


1. Make your favorite gingerbread dough recipe according to instructions. While chilling and before rolling dough, cut out barn patterns from sturdy cardboard.

2. Roll out one-third portion of the dough 1/4 inch thick on a surface dusted lightly with flour. Place cardboard patterns for barn front and two sides on rolled dough. Using a sharp knife, cut around patterns. Remove excess dough; reserve with remaining dough for rolling other barn pieces.

3. On barn front cut two doors using a sharp paring knife cut but do not remove dough. Lightly, cut a circle outline above front barn doors.

4. On side pieces, cut doors, again keeping dough in place. Cut side windows completely; remove dough pieces and add to reserve.

5. Cut red and green Life Savers candies (one of each) into small pieces and place inside circle to create hex. Be sure to place into dough above door before baking.

6. Repeat process; roll and cut barn back, four roof pieces and base with remaining dough.

7. Bake pieces according to instructions. Remove gingerbread from oven. When gingerbread is still warm, re-cut the doors from front and side and remove; cool on pan for a few minutes. Finally, transfer all pieces to a wire rack to cool completely. Let all pieces dry completely, preferably overnight.

8. Meanwhile, using scissors to trim to size, cover potato chip can with red construction paper. Join seams by using double stick tape along edge of paper. Cover tennis ball with aluminum foil and place in top of can.

Instructions for Gingerbarn assembly:
1) Cut a 14x11-inch piece of cardboard for the base of the barnyard. Cut two pieces of cardboard from the barn back pattern for roof supports.
2) Prepare royal icing according to instructions and insert small amount into bottom pastry bag with tip. Refill pastry bag with icing as needed throughout project, never filling bag too full. As it’s the “glue” for the house and candy, always use generously.
3) Assemble four barn sides onto gingerbread base. To join barn sides to back and front pieces, pipe icing cleanly along edges to be joined. Press barn pieces together and hold for several minutes. Once four walls are firmly together on gingerbread base, adhere to cardboard base with frosting. Then insert your two cardboard cutouts into center of barn. Secure with icing to sides of barn. Let dry completely, preferably overnight.
4) Using scissors cut sour tape into strips to create vertical barn siding. Carefully using icing like glue, apply siding to barn sides. Using royal icing, apply doors to front and sides, adding zigzag barn pattern to doors.
5) Using small amount of icing on feet, add cow to inside of barn, so she’s peeking out of side window.
6) Pipe frosting on top edges of barn and center supports. Press roof pieces into place, holding for several minutes to insure proper fit. Pipe frosting into seams between roof pieces. Let roof dry completely before adding cupola.
7) Using sharp knife cut several chocolate graham crackers cut into quarters. With four pieces, use icing to adhere cupola walls to roof. Then, cut four triangle pieces of graham cracker. Using icing, adhere triangles to form peak. Once completely dry, add Life Saver candy to peak.
8) Cut licorice into small pieces and make licorice pathway. Using scissors cut a small heart from Sour Gummi Tape® and adhere to center of hex.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New York Chocolate Show

Come to the NY Chocolate Show FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7 and watch my culinary demonstration from 5:30-6:15 pm. Directly following, I have a book signing scheduled and will have copies of all three of my book titles. This year the show is at Pier 94 on 12th Avenue and 55th Street.

I will make and sample my BLACKBERRY TRUFFLES.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My CANDYCAKE Halloween Treats

Many of you heard my Martha Stewart radio segment on Monday and have requested the recipes for my Halloween items which I talked about on the show. Please find them here and be sure to have a spectacularly spooky HALLOWEEN.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Sampling of Beth Kimmerle's Collection for Sapporo Chocolate Museum

Japan Chocolate Museum Exhibit Opens

I began collecting chocolate and confection related antiques and artifacts while working for the venerable American chocolate maker, Fannie May Candies. While there I became curious about confectionery related advertisements, trade cards, boxes and molds for historical research but I also desired to preserve the art and craft of America's confection work. It was my collection that essentially led to the publication of my three books on the history of candy and chocolate.

My, Chocolate: The Sweet History book was on sale several years ago at the New York Chocolate Show. After I demonstrated a recipe on spicy hot chocolate, I had a book signing and greeted many folks. After the show I received a rather mysterious phone call from someone who had purchased a copy of my book and was interested in my collection. After a brief discussion it was clear that the mystery caller was calling on someone's behalf. This someone was interested in purchasing my collection. 

At the time, my collection was partially cataloged and boxed away in several locations so I was unsure of exactly what I had. But, as it turned out, I had thousands of items. I started in on the task of cataloguing each and every one so I could inform this secret potential buyer what I had. I curated the best items and the buyer came from around the globe to visit my office in New York. Impressed with my collection, curating and cataloging, he offered to purchase the majority of my collection. 

Selling my items was extremely difficult. Each of these things each had a story and many had guided my research; they'd been friends for years. They were interesting, beautiful and no longer produced. They were, in summary, my passion. But deep down I knew that clearing out the old would somehow make room for the new and the thought of them on display for the world to appreciate and not locked in a box was interesting to me.  Now, I am happy to say, my cherished collection is part of a larger Chocolate Museum located in Sapporo, Japan and I am indeed, thrilled.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Beth Kimmerle’s Catskill Blackberry Truffles

I have a house upstate NY and come August we’re completely surrounded by luscious blackberry bushes. Just when you think you’ve picked the motherload, another bush with purple bursting berries will greet you. The berries end up everywhere: in salads, breads and marinades but when paired with chocolate, they are so heavenly.


• 1 cup (8 oz.) heavy cream
• 16 oz. (1 pound) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
• 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
• ½ cup fresh blackberries
• ¼ cup tablespoons Chambord Liqueur
• ½ cup cocoa powder for coating
• ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar for coating


In a small saucepan bring Chambord Liqueur to a boil. Add blackberries and cook for about 15 minutes or until liquid is mostly reduced. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a light boil. Once boiling, immediately turn off heat and add chopped chocolate and butter to pan. Let sit for a few minutes, until chocolate is mostly melted. Then, stir gently with a rubber spatula until smooth.

Add cooked berries to chocolate and stir with rubber spatula. Transfer truffle mix to metal bowl.

Tightly cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight until it is cool and firm.

Sift cocoa powder and confectioners sugar together in small bowl. Scoop out tablespoon of chocolate, and with hands, roll into a ball. Roll rounded truffles in cocoa powder mixture. Place finished truffles on plate or lined baking sheet. Continue forming and coating truffles with remaining chocolate. If chocolate becomes too warm, place back in the refrigerator.

Refrigerate in airtight container until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wine + Chocolate Event

Sandy Roche, Hostess August 15, 2008
Chocolate and Wine Pairing
With Beth Kimmerle

First Flight


Le Colture Prosecco di Valdobbiadene

Has a balanced combination of fruity and floral aroma and taste, in a slightly sweet bubbly structure. A great pre-dinner sparkler, it’s also terrific with sweets.

Saniger Cava Vintage Brut

This grape estate is located near Barcelona. The winery was taken over by the Franco Regime and has since reinvented itself. A dry brut, it’s refined and produced in a manner similar to Champagne.


Scharffen Berger 41% Cacao Milk Chocolate

An extraordinarily high cocoa content milk chocolate with rich caramel flavors.

Second Flight


Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio 2007

A smooth, chilled aperitif, Verdicchio is an uncommon grape. The name is a derivative of the word “verde” (which means green in Italian) due to its slight green/yellow hue. It holds welcoming fruit and almond notes.


Scharffen Berger 62% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate

This not overly sweet, semisweet offers hints of citrus and honey.

Third Flight


Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville-Napa Valley 2005

The wine is made in Bordeaux-style using NEARLY 80 percent cabernet sauvignon with a blend: 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 6% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Merlot, and 1% Carignan. The cab grape taste stands strong with herbs and currant. You may taste some coffee and cocoa in the rather long finish.


Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate

A complex, “almost” dark chocolate with real fruitiness and a lasting finish.

Fourth Flight


Prager Tomas Port 2004

This sweet, brandy fortified wine is made in the "vintage style port" tradition and is produced from two varieties of grapes grown on the estate in Calistoga, CA. This full-bodied Port has evolved into the taste of candies cherries, spices and a hint of caramel. Tomas can be enjoyed now, but will improve with a few years of bottle age.


Scharffen Berger 82% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate

A rich bar with dried fruitiness and spice flavors.


Assortment of hand-rolled truffles made with Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate and rolled in Scharffen Berger cocoa powder. Flavors include: Fresh Picked Blackberry and Honey.


Beth Kimmerle’s Soft Salted Caramels, made with Scharffen Berger 62% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate and sea salt.

Time To Make The Soft Salted Chocolate Caramels

Here's the truth. I have been away, making caramels. A page ran in Domino Magazine about my 10 favorite things and in my list and I included my soft chocolate caramels. Not because it was convenient but because they are.

They are not just any caramels. I demonstrated how to make them at the New York Chocolate show last year and something happened. Folks started hovering around me. Considered questions were asked like, how do you pronounce it, "car-ah-mel" or "care-a-mel"? What sort of salt do you use? What...

Description: Soft, NOT stringy. CHOCOLATELY, not vanilla. KISS wrapped, not mass produced. Tender, sweet like the season's perfect ear of corn. Here's the catch. SALTY and sweet. Not overly but a hint. Another kiss....sea salt. French.

So, this page ran in the August issue of Domino and orders came in. Lots of orders. 

There you have it. I have been away making caramels. THOUSANDS of pieces. Hand-wrapped, hand-made, heavy cream, the works--the old fashioned way. At one point, before the article ran I contacted a manufacturer. I sent him my recipe specs and a few days later I received a candy caramel package in the mail. But they were not my caramels. They were good, sorta close, but they were not hovering caramels.

For those who ordered my Soft Salted Chocolate caramels from seen in Domino; thanks for hovering. A kiss wrap for you.

Want the recipe? Email me!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chocolate Mystery Chest Deepens

Okay, here is a story. Either it's a total hoax (ala the sixth foot in Vancouver) or a genius marketing ploy. 

Have you ever played the game "What would you take if you were stranded on a desert island and could take only ONE thing"? What if someone is stranded and their only thing has washed away?

What if New Zealand had a different April Fools Day?

Chocolate Pirate's Booty! Ahoy, someone call the people in product development.

Make a note to call Daniel at Cadbury and tell him that he should never say never because as the PR folks would say, "It just works".

  • Low cost > high return (flea market trunk+ trip to beach+product=international newspaper story)
  • Follows consumers fascination with foot on beach. Expecting dead body....find CHOCOLATE. Hip, hip, horray!
  • Free chocolate with slightly edgy risk (expired date) When quotes appear that the product is still DELICIOUS after being waterlogged and expired, plus other glowing testemonies= priceless.
Chocolate companies, fill your chests! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vanilla Ice Cream

My family takes our ice cream very seriously. While in high school my father worked at a shop called Van Dyke's in Ridgewood, New Jersey. As children we learned all about how Van Dyke's made ice cream and I never tired of stories about behind the scenes at an cream store. I was fascinated with dry ice. 

We always stopped for ice cream and grew intimately acquainted with watching pewter scoops meet frozen, flavored cream from the other side of a ice cream case.

When we'd visit southern CA we pined for Balboa Bars. They are a vanilla ice cream brick, on a wooden stick, dipped in chocolate and then rolled in roasted peanuts. I think you could get fancy with other ingredients, jimmies and such but we stayed pretty close to the original.  Cold Stone Creamery has got nothing on them.

Everyone had their signature flavor. My sister Molly loved chocolate chip mint, always. Kate, somewhat older and wiser, was into exotics like peanut butter and chocolate or coffee. I liked vanilla. I think as a kid it was something that I could fully count on. Early on I was wild: I chose flavors like bubblegum and rocky road. But to my dismay I would find that the soft pieces of chiclets or marshmallow had taken on a strange gummy texture, ruining the whole experience. Inclusions were dangerous. Vanilla (French, if available, was okay) on a cake cone was my thing. 

This 4th of July was festive with guests and visitors. I spruced up vanilla ice cream with a home made chocolate sauce and a few almonds. Alan's right again: it's still a classic.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Greek Yogurt with Honey

I realize that I promised more about vanilla ice cream, petite fours and See's Candy but I tasted something at the show which has occupied my mind since. Fage Yogurt. Total (full cream) with honey. It's velvety, rich with heavy cream and pleasingly sweet. It reminds me of a perfectly produced, thick, creme fraiche.

When I was in Turkey, we had yogurt for almost every meal. It was made into sauces for lamb dishes, blended into fruit drinks and served with nuts and honey at breakfast. When I came home I was disappointed to find that the stateside yogurts never matched what I experienced in Turkey. But slowly, over the past five years or so, the category of yogurt has really taken off.

I still can't find Falim gum anywhere. My Istanbul Intergum visit will be another post.

Well, Antonios Maridakis, the VP of sales and marketing at Fage USA tells me that Fage is now local to New York. They have a big, beautiful new facility in Johnstown, New York. They purchase their milk locally and produce in the Greek style. Meaning that the whey is separated after being heated, making the yogurt thicker and suitable for cooking too.

Yes, Alan Richman is correct. Greek yogurt with honey is a great treat. And now it's local too. Madzhik!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Confections at the Fancy Food Show

Well, here I go. My CANDYMONIUM blog has been discussed and considered for years but I am just now getting around to it. Frankly I never knew where to begin but yesterday after reviewing the latest and greatest at the Fancy Food Show, I finally realized my genesis.  I will discuss, review and contemplate not only my found Fancy Food Show confections but I will muse, with your help, about candy, chocolate, confections, and anything made of sugary goodness. Oh, and sweets  too.

So, what's there at the show? I started in the media room and read the latest press kits from Dagoba Organic, Scharfen Berger Chocolate, and Bissinger's, and some newcomers too. Then, I headed off, starting with the booths downstairs because I had to order pre-made Gingerbread houses from Philip at Monaco Baking. I am working on a very special holiday project, for a very special client and Philip and I go back a long way. We worked together when I was the new product architect for Fannie May Candies. At that time Fannie May was the largest candy retailer in North America and Philip helped me develop seasonal cookies and gingerbread novelties for their stores and catalogs. Next up was another appointment with a book publisher to discuss my latest book project and then off to Madeline Chocolates to say hi to Jorge et al in their booth.

Is Greek yogurt with honey as perfect and magical as Alan Richman claims in this month's GQ Magazine? In the article titled, My Sweet Life he also extolls: See's Candy, Petite Fours and plain vanilla ice cream (more on those later). The photography of various sweets in different stages, by Mitchell Feinberg is amazing and what I really wanted the Charlie and the Chocolate movie remake to make me feel like.